Updated: April 04, 2016
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The Confusion Of Washi Between Japanese And Foreigners

If you're interested in Japanese culture, you might have heard about washi (和紙), a Japanese traditional handmade paper. It even became one of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2014!

What is Washi?

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Washi is the general name for Japanese traditional handmade paper.
Washi made in certain regions became the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2014.

It is said that washi making started around the 7 or 8th century when its culture was imported from mainland Asia. It's made from fibers of the special plant, such as Kozo, Mitsumata, and ganpi.

What is special about this washi is that handmade washi can last over thousand years. On the other hand, ordinary machine-made paper only last hundred years.

What is the confusion?

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If you read the previous paragraph, you should've realized there is nothing confusing.
The tricky part is that when Japanese people hear the word 'washi', they only imagine a sheet of paper; when others would also imagine washi tape.

Washi tape is called 'masking tape' in Japan, and hardly anyone knows that it's made from washi.
'Masking tape' in English would only reminds people of white sticky non-decorative tape.

Washi tape!

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This weird story came from three Japanese girls who loved masking tape even before it became colorful. They sent a letter to a manufacturer to see the factory because they were writing a book about masking tapes and how useful they are (remember, they weren't as colorful as now).

This single letter lead to the big boom of washi tape all over the world! When it was exported from Japan, the name turned into washi tape due to the related image of white masking tape.

Now, it is used to decorate stationary, envelope, and almost everything you could think of!
Challenge your imagination in use of the great washi tape!
mikkey
6th year uni student! Trying to figure out a way to survive in Japanese society.

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